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Celebration Months : March/April
Religion : Hindu
Importance : Worship of Lord Hanuman
Hanuman Jayanti is one of the holiest festivals of Varanasi. Located on the banks of Ganges, Varanasi is itself a sacred city and is highly revered by Hindus. Being the venue of several auspicious occasions, the place holds a prominent place in their hearts. Celebrated in the honor of Lord Hanuman, this special festival is marked by several rites and rituals.
Lord Hanuman was a staunch devotee of Lord Rama and dedicated his entire life in the service of his master. He helped Rama in rescuing his beloved wife Sita from demon Ravana. He is considered on of the avatars of Shiva and a great Yogi who lived the life of Brahmcharya (chastity) and worked relentlessly in the service of others. On the occasion of Hanuman Jayanti, followers worship Lord Hanuman; his ardent faith in Rama and his unparallel devotion to him are the main reasons behind hi worship. The day is celebrated on a grand scale on Shukla Poornima of the month Chaitra.
Attractions of the Day :
The day celebrates the birthday of Hanuman or the monkey god, as he is generally called. The Lord is venerated by millions of Hindus. The day carries paramount importance for those who live the life of celibacy. This significant day is marked by bathing of the idol by the priests and offering prayers to it. The idol is adorned with sindoor (vermillion) and oil which are considered as symbols of life.
Legend linked with vermillion: It is said that once Sita was applying vermillion on her hair; when asked by Hanuman the reason for doing so, she replied that sindoor will ensure a long life of her husband; longer the sindoor she wears , longer will be his life. Hearing this, Hanuman applied vermillion on his whole body so that his lord becomes immortal. This is the reason behind application of sindoor over his idol.
On Hanuman Jayanti, devotees make offerings of bananas and fruits so as to please the monkey god. As a token of veneration, monkeys from nearby areas are also worshipped in this significant occasion. People observe fast on this day. North Indian states like Uttar Pradesh and Bihar celebrate it with enthusiasm and fanfare. At some places, huge tents are erected at temple premises; people throng to these places in order to listen the sacred chants from "Hanuman Chalisa". A grand procession is taken out in which people dance to the beats of drums.
The festival is characterized by several cultural programs that are organized on this day. "Nautanki" dramas of Uttar Pradesh enact the life of Lord Hanuman and showcase his sheer devotion to Rama and stories of his mighty strength. It is a special event for bodybuilders and weightlifters that get an inspiration from him. A number of competitions like wrestling, body building etc, are organized. As the competitors start the fight, chanting of "Jai Hanuman" fill the atmosphere. The winners are rewarded hugely; a number of other games like pulling heavy vehicles with teeth, balancing a huge stone on chest, and other competitions that are centered on showcasing one's body strength are the main attractions of Hanuman Jayanti. Some of the wrestlers observe a fast on this day; this is done as a token of respect and devotion to Lord Hanuman.
Legend associated with Lord Hanuman: A plenty of stories are linked with this divine God. Apsara Anjana, mother of Hanuman, caught the attention of Vayu God by her peerless beauty. Their love culminated in the form of child Hanuman. AS he was born, he was so hungry that his mother's milk was not able to settle down his insatiable hunger. In order to satisfy him, he flew in the sky to eat sun. Enraged by his act, Indra initiated a thunderstorm to stop him. This injured his chin. He was taken to a shelter by Vayu. The child Hanuman was visited by several gods who blessed him with immense strength and invincible powers. As his chin became swollen, he came to be known as Hanuman or "large jaw".
Lord Hanuman is a symbol of life and strength. He is revered by million of devotees and Hanuman Jayanti is an epitome of his selfless love and miraculous efforts.